Are the five men on trial part of the al-Qaeda fan club or were they duped by the government?
By By George Anastasia
CAMDEN, N.J. — The five defendants in the Fort Dix terrorism trial were described by a federal prosecutor yesterday as dedicated jihadists intent on attacking America.
“Their motive was to defend Islam,” Deputy U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick told the jury in his opening statement in U.S. District Court in Camden. “Their inspiration was al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.”
Fitzpatrick spent about an hour outlining the government’s case before an anonymously chosen jury of eight women and four men.
Quoting repeatedly from secretly recorded conversations, he painted the foreign-born Muslim defendants as people who had adopted “a fundamentally violent interpretation of Islam” that justified their plan to attack the fort.
Defense attorneys, in statements that stretched over nearly three hours, offered a decidedly different picture.
Their clients, they said, were young men who had been manipulated by paid government informants into a conspiracy they had no intention of carrying out.
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